In an astonishing and hypocritical about turn, former human rights leader Sidiki Kaba says he no longer supports decriminalising homosexuality after being appointed as Senegal’s Justice Minister last week.
Kaba was previously the head of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and publicly supported the rights of LGBT people.
On Friday, however, it came t0 light that he no longer backs decriminalising homosexuality and is now in favour of the government’s anti-gay position.
“I am a minister of justice who works in the context of a government and who expresses his views through those of the head of state which apply to all those who serve under him,” Kaba was quoted as telling journalists at a press briefing.
When asked about a previous 2009 statement in which he called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, he replied that “I was expressing (the position) of my organisation” at the time.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Senegal under article 319 of the penal code which punishes “improper or unnatural” acts with jail time of between one and five years.
In June, Senegal’s President Macky Sall and President Obama exchanged words over the issue of LGBT rights during the American leader’s visit to the African country.
At a press conference in Dakar, President Sall responded directly to Obama’s comments supporting the rights of all people.
“Senegal, as far as it is concerned, is a very tolerant country which does not discriminate in terms of inalienable rights of the human being. We don’t tell anybody that he will not be recruited because he is gay or he will not access a job because his sexual orientation is different. But we are still not ready to decriminalise homosexuality,” said Sall.